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JA on F1 Podcast #9: On F1’s new deal, and behind the scenes Williams special
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Nov 2012   |  12:43 am GMT  |  18 comments

Welcome to the JA on F1 podcast for November, brought to you by UBS.

This month we have something a bit special. We went to Paris to quiz FIA president Jean Todt on the key subjects of the moment in F1 – the new higher team entry fees, 2014 engines and whether Bernie Ecclestone will have more of a say in making the F1 rules in future,

“I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anyone else,” he says forthrightly.

And we have a behind-the-scenes special with the Williams F1 team. Bruno Senna evaluates his season, while Pastor Maldonado gives us an insight into where he finds his stunning qualifying speed and talks about his many brushes with the stewards this season.

We meet F1’s most prominent female driver Susie Wolff, long time DTM racer and development driver at Williams, as she gets her first taste of F1 power.

And we meet Toto Wolff, an increasingly influential figure at Williams and Sir Frank’s understudy these days. He tells us his thinking about Williams’ current deliberations on drivers for next year and explains why he thinks the new 2014 engines are a mistake.

And we have a special prize – a goody bag from the Williams Partner Day at Silverstone, which has a genuine Williams gear ratio, a limited edition cartoon model of Nigel Mansell, a Williams cap, pen, notepad and photos.

To win this prize all you have to do is answer this question, by email to james@jamesallenonf1.com. (NB- do not put it in comments section below)

“In the Toto Wolff interview, what year does he say that Colin Kolles introduced him to Frank Williams?”

A winner will be picked at random on Friday at 12 noon UK time.

Enjoy! And please do give us your feedback.

No player? Download the podcast directly.

JA on F1 Podcast #9

0.00 Introduction
1.27 FIA President Jean Todt, Part 1 – on new team entry fees
7.04 Williams F1 driver Bruno Senna
10.56 Suzi Wolff on women driving in F1
15.14 Toto Wolff on Williams’ drivers in 2013 and his vision for Williams
23.04 Williams driver Pastor Maldonado on where he finds his speed
27.24 FIA President Jean Todt, Part 2
30.37 Wrap up this edition

Total duration: 31.08

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Hi James,

On the likelihood of the success of female F1 drivers, physiologically they have the advantage that they are on average smaller and for the same size have a lower centre of gravity. A lower centre of gravity due to the driver being lighter and lower is a persistent performance advantage.

In terms of strength, which seems to be most important for peak brake pressures, men will have an advantage for the same body weight as men can relatively healthily maintain much lower body fat levels. Braking performance has been one suggestion for the relatively difference in Danica Patrick’s speed on ovals (where her weight and CoG advantages are magnified by the high cornering forces) and road and street courses.

I recall watching a science TV show more than 20 years ago and there was a short segment that examined male and female sense of gravity. If I recall correctly, it mentioned a variation during the menstrual cycle. I don’t recall an overall difference, and have been unable find anything since on it. A limited scan of the internet suggests the male and female ear are the same, so the fundamentals of balance sensation would appear to be the same. How the brain processes that information could be different, as women have many more neural connections.

I suspect that Suzie’s first answer to do with the participation rate is probably the key. With a limited sample set of women drivers to look at it would be easy for prejudices to developed. Motor racing is also a fairly masculine environment. Times have moved on, so it will be interesting to see how Ron Howard portrays women. Certainly Alan Jones biography by Keith Botsford makes interesting reading on subject of women and groupies in particular.

So if you see any girls staring in karting, I’d suggest getting them into a gym to do lots of squats (one and two legged) to develop their braking strength. And make sure they are comfortable with turn-in oversteer.




There’s more chance of getting Williams merchandise by winning this competition than there is by trying to buy it! If you want to buy anything from them currently, you have to do it via mail order from a PDF on their website. They used to have a fully able web shop that you could purchase from, but it seems they have scrapped it and let Gene Hunt implement their shop strategy this year.

Their presence in the fan zones at the grands prix are no better either. No more standalone Williams merchandise tents – just a small corner of the general F1 tents, with merchandise dating back quite a few years. It’s a bit depressing really, especially as I wanted to replace my big Williams umbrella that a light fingered person decided to permanently borrow.

Their performance on the track may have improved this year, but they’re running around with HRT in this area.


Always found it amusing that Sir Frank allowed a guy called Wolff to invest in his F1 team, after the debacle last time he did with Walter Wolff in the 70’s when he lost his team.


Egomaniac Billionare – classic! Now I wonder who Toto could be talking about.

I can’t see them keeping Bruno- I think Williams need to be aggressive and keep taking chances. Voltari I think matched exactly Brunos Friday time in one session recently and consistently seems to be in top 10 Friday pace- I think he is the direction they need to take. Especially now that Pastor is settled and becoming consistent.


Toto Wolff’s answer on the drivers for next season and his estimation of an okay season for Bruno was very revealing. Where do you think Bruno will go James?


Was Jean Todt hitting the table when he was speaking? I kept hearing loud taps throughout his interview.




Great Podcast James, the more I see and hear from Toto the more I like Him, I think Williams future and legacy will be safe with him, Frank has made a good choice in my opinion, what are your thoughts on Toto and Williams James ?


Equally positive.

Sir Frank’s place and history in the sport ensures them a very strong financial position with FOM and a set at the Strategy Group table, so it’s up to Toto to add value to the team

Adrian Newey Jnr

James, whilst I respect Frank’s contribution to the sport, do you think that the team still carries the same importance and therefore should sit on the strategy council?

You could argue that there are other teams that in recent years (eg Lotus/Renault) that have a similar amount of history and importance. Do you think that on track performance should trump historical contribution?


Historical contribution is the way the established teams continue to exert influence even if they are not front runners.

Ferrari is at the front currently, but should they slip to 4th or 5th, they will still have a major say because they’ve been around since year 1, and that has to be respected, doesn’t it?

Same with Williams. Surviving in the business is a major success in itself


19:06 onward “Egomaniac Billionaire” Founders. So So funny …


I know, classic isn’t it!


James, where do you rate Susie Wolff compared to Simona de Silvestro and Rahel Frey(who outscored her, allthough the Audi ended the season stronger than the Merc)?


Gotta love Jean Todt. If he really does it like he says, then F1 might just come up okay for the post Bernie era…



I think its going down hill with Todt at the wheel after hearing this podcast.

FIA collects vast sums of money only to pay their guys good wages – they dont seem to achieve very much – and by Todts’ account the FIA have no business to have a say in F1.

F1 needs the FIA to take command of the issues, rules etc – make rulings on new engines rules – that sort of thing – otherwise they are just another party doing half a job for F1 but happy to have their vast wages paid off the back of F1.


I just want to say your blog’s had a good today James (6/11/12) – it’s made even better reading than usual. Looking forward to listening to the podcast (when I’m not about to go to bed)!



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